I've been recently reading Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's brilliant cookbook, Jerusalem. This very engaging book took me right into the heart of the walled city and gave me insights into its rich history, its sights, smells and cuisine. I wanted to immerse myself into the culture of Jerusalem and bring the essence of it into my own kitchen. I quickly stocked up on some Zatar, pine nuts and sumac from Waitrose. Here is one lovely recipe from the book, tailored to suit what was available in my English neighbourhood.
500g lamb mince
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp zatar
50g pine nuts
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp lemon juice
Olive oil , to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Flat leaf parsley for garnish and for the stuffing, to taste
Heat the oven to 220 deg C for fan/220 degrees otherwise
Halve the aubergine, brush with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper generously on the and roast them for about 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool
Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add onions and half of all the spices and cook for about five minutes. Add the lamb mince, pine nuts, a small amount of parsley, tomato puree and salt & pepper and fry for about 15 minutes till the meat is well cooked.
Mix the lemon juice with 150ml water and the remaining spices in a little bowl. Pour this mixture into the aubergine roasting tin. Stuff the aubergines with the lamb mixture (as in the photo), cover the roasting tin with tin foil and continue to cook in the oven at 195 degrees for fan and 175 degrees otherwise for about an hour. Ottolenghi recommends an hour and half but I thought my aubergines looked well ready in less than an hour. If you want a pulpy aubergine centre, cook for an hour and thirty minutes as recommended in the book.
Ottolenghi recommends serving this warm or at room temperature. I garnished mine with a bit of parsley, extra pine nuts and served it with natural yogurt.
I recommend reading Jerusalem and giving the recipes a try. Perhaps you could start with this one here? Ann x
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Photography by Edward Chandler